The country is full of treasures inherited from the different pre-Columbian cultures (Muiscas, Tayronas, Quimbayas, Calimas, San Augustin, Tierradentro, Tolimas… ).
The Calima culture developed on the banks of the river of the same name, on the peaceful slope near Buenaventura. The Indians were farmers, living in small settlements of a few huts. Pottery with anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures was found, as well as finely worked pieces of goldsmithery: diadems, pectorals and pins.
In the Magdalena Valley, this civilization resisted with courage to the Spanish invader. It left us beautiful gold coins such as nose ornaments, pectorals, earrings.
The archaeological site of Tierradentro in Colombia
Another enigmatic civilization is Tierradentro, which appeared around the 8th century B.C., and whose painted hypogeums are a unique example in the entire American continent.
The Quimbaya culture developed in the upper Cauca Valley. The Quimbayas also excelled in ceramics with painted or incised ornaments. Among the objects of their daily life, archaeologists have found cotton fabrics, wooden oars, obsidian mirrors and rock crystal necklaces.
They populated the slopes of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and we know their habitats, their terrace crops, their irrigation systems. Their descendants still live in these same mountains. They excelled in goldsmithing and we can still admire some of the most beautiful pieces of pre-Columbian goldsmithing.
A Kogis village in Sierra Nevada
Muisca Civilization - Chibcha
Balsa Muisca from the Gold Museum in Bogota
They populated the altiplano in the Bogota region and traded salt, emeralds and cotton. At the time of his enthronement the new sovereign, covered in gold, went to the sacred lake of Guatavita. There he would climb on a raft, ride a balsa and bathe. Having heard this story, the Spanish invented the legend of El Dorado.
If you are interested in pre-Hispanic civilizations, we recommend you to visit the following museums:
- Museo de Oro (Bogota)
- Museo Quimbaya (Armenia)
- Museo de Oro Zenu (Cartagena)
- Museo Tayrona (Santa Marta)
- Museo Calima (Valle del Cauca)